Producer of Showtime Series Sentenced in Case Linked to Russian Mafia THR
One of the producers of a Showtime drama series was sentenced today in a high-profile criminal case. The Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood, Esq., reports that Bryan Zuriff, one of the executive producers on "Ray Donovan," avoided prison time in his gambling case.
"A judge sentenced Zuriff to six months of home confiment, two years of probation, 300 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine," the story reports. "The announcement came from U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman at a hearing in a New York courtroom on Monday."
The piece reports: "Zuriff was one of 34 people indicted this past April for his role in a high-stakes sports-betting enterprise with alleged connections to the Russian mafia. In July, Zuriff became the first person from this group to plead guilty. In legal papers, he admitted getting caught up with co-defendants Hillel Nahmad and Ilya Trencher, although he maintained that he wasn't aware of any mob connections."
Zuriff went on a leave of absence from the Showtime drama series to "protect" the series from bad publicity, he said, but he rejoined the show as a consultant. "He is said to have had a hand in the upcoming second season and has recently been working on a Todd Phillips movie to be filmed in the summer of 2014, the Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs movie and a number of other TV and film projects," THR notes.
The report adds: "At the hearing, Zuriff apologized for his actions and said a 'silver lining' was that the arrest allowed him the opportunity to address gambling addiction. He revealed he has been in intensive therapy for past seven months."
His attorney made the argument that Zuriff's relationship with the Showtime series was endangered by the case and said a jail sentence for Zuriff would adversely impact the show, the piece notes.
The report adds: "The judge agreed with prosecutors that what he did was not a 'victimless crime' and while acknowledging that 'prison wouldn't serve any purpose here' and that the letters showed that he had acknowledged what he had done and didn't blame others, that more than 'a slap on the wrist' was warranted. (Hence the home confinement.)"
Among those writing letters requesting mercy for Zuriff were Judd Apatow, "Lone Survivor" director Peter Berg and "Ray Donovan" star Jon Voight, the report says.
"According to attorneys for Zuriff, who broke into Hollywood as a talent manager for stars like Elizabeth Shue, Chris Noth and Brent Spiner, their client opened a 'sports book' account on unlawful Internet gambling sites and accepted wagers on behalf of Nahmad and others," the story reports. "Zuriff met Nahmad through fellow 'Ray Donovan' producer Mark Gordon -- a 'newfound friendship [that] was exciting and Bryan did all he could to fit in with his new companions,' said the legal papers."